After my trip to New Jersey I returned to find that I didn't really feel like running much. I would feel a little dread as I laced up my shoes, not eagerness.
I'm pretty sure I found the secret elixir to cure my apathy around 6 a.m. Saturday morning as I watched my husband and roughly 150 other runners line up at an old mining camp in the rolling grasslands near Sonoita, Ariz. - the Santa Rita Mountains lurking somewhere in the darkness. The ultrarunners, both professional and aspiring, rose early to tackle the Old Pueblo 50, a 50-mile race along portions of the Arizona Trail and dirt roads in and around Coronado National Forest.
I was able to crew for Adrian at miles seven, 25, 29, 40, 46 and then watched in amazement as he sprinted towards the finish line in a last minute race with another runner. He finished in 10 hours and 31 minutes. This year's winner finished in seven hours and 18 minutes. Runners would continue to stream and occasionally shuffle in for a couple more hours.
These are normal men and women, with regular day jobs as engineers, salesmen, lawyers, doctors, personal trainers etc. It wasn't as if the entire group was filled with professional athletes. And yet here they were on a Saturday morning, giddy with excitment, chatting and laughing and about to tackle 50 miles. The end elicited the same joy, relief and emotion for the runners, some now hobbled from their effort.
The look on the faces of those that finished was one of ultimate accomplishment and contentment. I think I got a brief glimpse of what it might feel like crossing the finish line at Wildflower. These days as I lace up my running shoes, I think about cruising along, the wind hopefully at my back and all those folks who can't wait to get out there and run 50 miles.